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Augmented Reality, News, Technology, UX & Technology

How Augmented Reality Relies on User Experience

Mimi Sarwar

Mimi Sarwar, Writer
@uxconnections

Augmented Reality is slowly overtaking virtual reality. It’s set to dominate the technological world and user experience is where it starts.

There’s no doubt that technology is dramatically advancing and transforming into undeniably amazing opportunities for users.

Augmented Reality (AR) is the next step up from virtual reality (VR) where users are able to communicate with visually impressive overlays, games, and even rebuild information around them. AR focuses heavily on enhancing user experience (UX) and creating a digital world that closely matches our physical one.  

Launched in 2016, Pokemon Go was a distinct AR app brought into the lives of many mobile users. However, AR is not just regarded as an entertainment technology but also extends into multiple industries such as healthcare, automotive industry and education.

Blending Digital Information

AR is certainly leading the beginning of revolutionising UX by how users can seamlessly blend digital information with the physical world. This technology aims to offer real-time feedback to users making their UX an instantaneous interaction coupled with on the go information.

3 Ways to Maximise AR

There are three significant ways how AR can be utilised to enhance UX. We’ll explore more here:

1. Consider Interaction Cost 

Users will interact with AR through following a set of physical commands be it, voice activation, tapping virtual buttons or following through a menu.

AR is a hands-on experience that allows the user to swiftly journey through the virtual realm of technology, following intuitive sequences to reach their goal. Users want information fast! Therefore, the interaction cost needs to be taken into consideration to enhance their overall user experience. It would be a pain to make tremendous effort, both mentally and physically, to reach the end goal. Implementing AR to reduce or eradicate the interaction cost is one way to leverage the technology. 

Building an instinctive layout for users requires AR designers to come on board and investigate effective routes of communication between the user and the interface. If the interaction is not seamless, the UX will leave behind lots of problematic potholes. 

The California based start-up company, Mojo Vision, are promising to build the worlds first smart contact lenses – augmented reality placed directly onto your eyes. 

They hope that their AR lens will be there for those who experience low vision by immediately improving the world they see with enhanced overlays. This will provide a smooth UX, joining the digital world and reality flawlessly. 

2. Foreseeing Cognitive Load

AR’s aim is to take the strain out of users’ memory when moving from one step to the next, making the process of interaction flow naturally. Users will be communicating without keeping in mind what was displayed before and what will be shown afterwards. For users, it is all about the present moment and what they are able to interact with right now. Like a jigsaw puzzle, each step needs to fit in seamlessly in to the next without burdening the user’s cognitive load

For instance, Google Maps AR navigation, Live View, is designed to let users utilise the AR platform to help them navigate when walking. The mapping overlays fit perfectly in with real-life surrounding, whereby arrows and directions are placed to guide your way.

Each journey is designed to allow the user to easily reach their destination without overloading their memory with too much information thus maximising UX. 

3. Focusing on Attention Switching 

It’s troublesome for users to keep switching their focus back and forth from screen to task and vice versa. Chopping and changing from multiple screens to retrieve the desired information will increase the likelihood of discrepancies, fatigue and time consumption. Users may feel put off by this and in turn experience a rather bleak encounter with the user interface (UI).

Luckily, AR app development is there to help eliminate this problem so that user’s focus can be solely dedicated to the task without taking their eye off the ball causing eyestrain and degrading task performance. Creating perfect solutions with state-of-the-art tools is the most effective way to reduce attention switching and maximising UX.

AR is Making Waves

This new trend in the digital world is already making waves across mobile app platforms such as Sky Map, IKEA Place and Inkhunter. Now being implemented across plenty of industry sectors, AR is here to stay. 

The most important factor in making it the successful superimposing graphic technology that it is, is that user experience must be at the forefront of it – placing users and their emotions at the heart of AR.

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